Vatican jobs are safe in pandemic: pope

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"You are the ones who count the most," Francis told Vatican staff

Vatican employees are safe in their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis said Monday as he addressed Christmas wishes to the city state's 4,000 employees and their families.

"You are the ones who count the most," the pontiff told Vatican staff, socially distanced and wearing masks in the cavernous Paul VI Audience Hall.

"No one should lose their jobs (or) suffer the brutal economic consequences of this pandemic," the 84-year-old pope said.

With no unemployment fund, the world's smallest state has been paying its workforce their full-time wages despite a steep loss in revenues -- notably with the forced closure of the world-famous Vatican Museums.

The policy reflects Pope Francis's broader position on the pandemic and its economic and health effects.

"The pandemic has exposed the plight of the poor and the great inequality that reigns in the world," he said during a weekly Wednesday audience in August.

He lamented "a larger virus, that of social injustice, inequality of opportunity, marginalisation and the lack of protection for the weakest."

Earlier Monday, the Argentine pope told the Curia, the Holy See's central government: "This is the Christmas of the pandemic, of the health, economic, social and even ecclesial crisis that has indiscriminately struck the whole world."